Often, when someone goes about creating a website for the first time, what he or she is thinking about is what it will look like. While design is definitely important, it is not the only thing you should consider. It is one of the three, what I term “pillars” of a successful website.
Before I get into what the Three Pillars are, let me introduce an analogy (someone once called me the “King of Analogies” so why not live up to that name?). Creating a successful website can be compared to throwing a great party. Got your attention now, didn’t I? Everybody loves a good party…
Now, the obvious things to think about when planning a party are the food, drinks, music, decorations, theme, dress code, etc. These are analogous to your website’s design – style, colours, font choices, music/animation (if any), layout, and so on. Design is Pillar 1.
Okay, so you’ve got a fantastic party planned, with all the food ordered, music selected, and decorations up. Isn’t that enough? Well, you might actually want people to show up. Ah, yes, invitations! What’s the point of throwing a party if nobody comes? Same goes for your website. You could have the most beautiful site on the Web, but if no one knows about it, it might as well not exist. So you need a way of getting people to visit. Just as party invitations can be varied – you can mail them out, email them, phone people, or any combination of these methods – so can, and should, the invitations to your site. The more invitations (and the greater the variety of methods) to your site, the more visitors you’re likely to get. These invitations include word of mouth, including your URL on your business cards and other printed material and email signatures, incoming links, and the big one – search engine optimization (SEO). Let’s call all of this Pillar 2.
Finally, you can have people come to your nicely decorated party with good food, drinks, and music and people will probably leave, saying it was a good party. But, what if everyone had fun, new acquaintances – both business and personal – were made, nothing was broken, and everyone got home safely? Then, it’s likely people will say that you threw a great party! All of these can be arranged if you plan activities, introduce people, place the bar and the food at opposite ends of the room so that mingling is encourage (that’s a “Fab 5” tip), hide the breakables, etc. So, how do you do this in your website? By including compelling copy (text) that will grab your readers’ attention, keep it, and get them to take action – make a purchase, contact you, sign up for your newsletter. Good copy (and site layout) will point the visitor in the right directions, so they know where to go next and where to find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily. So, good copy is… you guessed it, Pillar 3.
So there you have it: the ingredients to throw an awesome party that people will come to, enjoy, and talk about for a long time. Oh yeah, and a recipe for a successful website.
In summary, the three pillars for a great results-oriented website are:
- Unique, professional design
- SEO (and other methods of letting people know about your site)
- Compelling copy
Keep these three pillars in mind and you’re on your way to creating a successful online presence.